Activists: Immigrant communities reluctant to report crimes

Anti-immigrant rhetoric coming out of Washington has some immigrants worried that reporting crimes to police could have unintended consequences for them, according to advocates.

Crime is falling in many major cities across the country, but even the commissioner of the Los Angeles Police Department says a drop in crime might not be a good thing.

The City of Angels may be receiving less reports of domestic violence and rape not because it's getting safer, but because immigrants are afraid to come forward and file police reports, the commissioner there says.

In the Big Apple, crime is also down across the board. Make the Road New York is trying to encourage immigrants to feel comfortable working with law enforcement officers amid fears that immigrants' rights are under attack.

Daniel Altschuler, an activist with the group, tells News 12 that many immigrants are tying together the criminal justice system and immigration enforcement, which can have public safety consequences as crimes in immigrant communities go unreported.

Although there are no hard statistics that immigrants are reporting less crimes, people with fears over their immigration status may be afraid that coming forward to report crimes may get them deported, activists say.

As a result, advocacy groups are trying to untangle the perception that police and immigration enforcement are tied together.

"We think it's really important to draw a bright line between the criminal justice system and the immigration enforcement system, because we want to make sure people feel comfortable coming forward if they are the victim of a crime, if they witness a crime," Altschuler says. "It makes everyone safer."

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